Bill Stackpole, assistant professor of networking, security and systems administration at Rochester Institute of Technology, about the risks to personal security that stem from easy-to-remember computer passwords.

Just because you can count to six, that doesn't mean that it should be your password.

A company called Imperva analyzed 32 million passwords that were stolen from the social website Rockyou.

The most popular password? 1-2-3-4-5-6.

The second most popular? 1-2-3-4-5.

The third most? 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9.

And the fourth favorite password? Password.

The easily guessable passwords drive security experts crazy.

"The human animal has a very difficult time remembering difficult things," said Bill Stackpole, a professor of Computer Security at R.I.T. "There are software tools out on the internet that will literally allow you to break a 15 character or less password in less than five minutes."

But there are things you can do to stay safe. Use a combination of letters, numbers and punctuation, and create a password from the lyrics of a song. But here's the key, use a different password for every website you use.

If you don't, all it takes is one good guess.


"Then they have the username and password to that you use for every other web site," said Stackpole.

But how serious is the threat?

"It's not a case of if your service gets broken into, it's a case of when," said Stackpole.

If you think you'd have a hard time remember a different password for every site, it is ok to write them down.

Just make sure you don't write the name of the website. And don't leave the piece of paper anywhere near your computer.

If you think yours is unique, just know that twenty percent of the passwords analyzed were from the same small pool of five thousand words.

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